Log in


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Andy Duncan and I got together Wednesday at the Princess Cafe—where Harry and Bess Truman had lunch one Father’s Day more than 60 years ago—and recorded the sixth episode of Eating the Fantastic while seated in the same booth they’d once occupied.

Andy’s an award-winning writer many times over, having won a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, a Nebula Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. Plus he’s also been nominated for the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards. His collections include Beluthahatchie and Other Stories (which came out in 2000) and The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories (published in 2011).


We discussed the profound influence of Richard Pryor on his writing, why he loves playing with real-world historical characters and events in his stories, what it was like to collaborate with Ellen Klages on their award-winning novella “Wakulla Springs,” what, if anything, writing teachers can teach, and more.

Here’s how you can join us—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I love opening nights, and not just when it comes to the theater. When a restaurant opens its doors for the first time, there’s a mood created which no longer exists later on once the unfamiliar rhythms settle into a perfected routine. Both staff and customers are filled with excitement and wonder, and as they’re both experiencing the venue for the first time, maybe even a tickle of uncertainty as well.

Will it all come together? Will confidence be rewarded? At the outset, you can never be sure. But one always begins filled with hope.

Which is why, when Aaron Silverman announced that Pineapple and Pearls—his spinoff from Rose’s Luxury—was going to open in April, I knew Irene and I had to be there. After all, Bon Appétit had judged Rose’s Luxury to be 2014’s best new restaurant in America, so Pineapple and Pearls promised to be something quite special.

And it was.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Pineapple and Pearls opened its first phase—a coffee shop serving amazing sandwiches and sweet rolls—on February 12. Though I wasn’t able to get there for its opening day, I was able to pop in exactly one week later, when I was in D.C. to record an episode of my Eating the Fantastic podcast, and I checked out the entire menu.

To experience the coffee shop, all I needed to do was show up. But to get a table for the fine dining component, I had to work my Internet magic the moment reservations opened. Luckily, I was able to grab a table for the first seating on the first night.

And so, at 5:01 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, we arrived at Pineapple and Pearls—me wearing a pineapple, Irene wearing the pearls—and were immediately handed mint juleps. (Sans alcohol, of course, for we had chosen the non-alcoholic pairings, as we always do.)


Once we were led to our table, I peered over to the kitchen and spotted what felt like a historic moment which cried out to be captured—head chef Scott Muns and chef/owner Aaron Silverman conferring as service began.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

March was another month which brought fewer dreams than usual. What it all means, why the drop-off, I don’t know. I’ve been gathering the dreams I’ve tweeted and sharing them here since December 2009, attempting to keep them a little less ephemeral. But now that I think about it, perhaps all this dream tweeting has made them more ephemeral.

After all, the first dream I shared, back on November 30, 2007, took up nearly 300 words, not a mere 140 characters. So perhaps by tweeting, I’ve lost more than I’ve gained. Something for me to think about. But while I do …

In December, I dreamt of Jon Stewart, Jamie Lee Curtis, Fred Astaire, Daryl Dixon, David Hartwell, and many other surprise guest stars. And here they are …

March 2016

I dreamt I flew to North Korea on a secret mission for the government. Now that I’m awake, though — I don’t remember what the mission was! Mar 31

I dream I was collaborating with Harlan Ellison on a short story … about which I remember nothing other than Ponce de León was involved. Mar 30

I dreamt I explained to a friend the reason I was fearless as a teen was not arrogance, but naïveté. It seemed important she understood. Mar 30

I dreamt I was packing up statues Jack Kirby had made of all the characters he’d created (to send to a museum) and was afraid I’d chip them. Mar 30

I dreamt I got into a conversation with Jon Stewart about kids, ending up reciting the whole of “This Be the Verse.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rjRYSfCJvM Mar 29

Last night, I dreamt I explained a story idea at a convention. It was an intriguing idea. But awake, it’s not one I’d ever choose to write. Mar 26

I dreamt @Nalo_Hopkinson and I were hosting a fundraising marathon and had to talk and entertain for DAYS while urging people to donate. Mar 26

I dreamt I was in a Shakespeare play with Eddie Izzard and Maggie Smith, which was put on hold when he got into fight with the set designer. Mar 25

I dreamt Harlan Ellison was about to climb into the ring for a boxing match, then decided he’d rather live, so we went for deli instead. Mar 24

I dreamt I watched on set as Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh filmed an episode of NYPD Blue with Dennis Franz. Got to chat with them, too. Mar 23Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

A new Eating the Fantastic is now live! Episode 5 was recorded with Carolyn Ives Gilman at Range in Friendship Heights, Maryland.

Carolyn is a Nebula, Hugo, and Tiptree-award nominated author whose first novel, Halfway Human, was called “one of the most compelling explorations of gender and power in recent SF.”


We discussed what’s kept her coming back to her Twenty Planets universe for a quarter of a century, how her first science fiction convention was “total sensory overload,” what it was like working with David Hartwell as an editor, why she’s not visible on social media, and more.

Here’s how you can listen in—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Someone who’s been in podcasting far longer than I have—after all, I only launched the first episode of Eating the Fantastic on February 10—has taken note of the file size for each of the first four episodes and suggested I begin uploading them in mono rather than stereo to save listeners from straining their bandwidth. The episodes so far, all stereo, have have ranged from 72-77 megabytes, and if they’d been mono, the file size would have been cut approximately in half.


I’ve been advised that those with capped data plans might be unwilling to download these files to their mobile devices for fear of maxing out on their monthly usage allowances, and I’d hate to lose out on potential listeners due to that. But my gut feeling is this file size won’t discourage downloads, as I assume everyone these days has access to wifi, which makes those monthly data plans not as much of a barrier as they once might have been.

As for the storage issue, I assume that others, like me, have podcast episodes deleted automatically once they’ve been listened to, so they won’t stack up and clog anyone’s phone.

The reason I don’t simply go ahead and shrink the files is because, having listened to both mono and stereo versions of the upcoming Episode 5—which will go live on April 1 and feature Carolyn Ives Gilman—I find the stereo version preferable to my ears, more filled with life, with a greater sense YOU ARE THERE to it. And yet—if potential listeners are put off by the file size, what good does that do?

Of course, there might be also be people who find the amount of ambient restaurant noise of the whole Eating the Fantastic concept distracting, and would be unwilling to put up with it regardless, but that I can’t help. That’s what this podcast is.

So what do you think about the state of podcasting today as it relates to optimal file size and the mono vs. stereo sound issue? I don’t want to be shooting myself in the foot by retaining stereo sound out of my own personal preference if the larger resulting file size keeps people away.

Any thoughts?

22 March 2016 @ 09:17 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Last June, I told you I’d sold my 10,000-word story “That Perilous Stuff” to the anthology Chiral Mad 3, and then in August I shared the illustration artist Glenn Chadbourne whipped up for that tale.

Now that the book’s about to be released—over on Facebook last night, editor Michael Bailey announced a March 29 release date—here’s the final front and back cover, with the name EDELMAN sandwiched between CHIZMAR and GOLDSMITH.


A spooky cover for what will surely be a spooky (and awesome) book!

If you’d like a small taste of “That Perilous Stuff,” here’s my reading at last year’s World Fantasy Convention of the first third or so.

I hope it will leave you wanting more.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Writer Tom Doyle and I recorded Episode 4 of Eating the Fantastic at Ethiopic Ethiopian restaurant nearby the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and Union Station in Washington D.C.—which unless I’m mistaken has the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia after so many resettled here during the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Tom’s the author of a contemporary fantasy series from Tor which began in 2014 with American Craftsmen, returned in 2015 with The Left Hand Way, and continues in the third installment War and Craft—the manuscript of which he handed in to his editor mere days before we met.


We talked about how what was was originally pitched as a standalone novel turned into a surprise trilogy, his fascination with apocalyptic fiction, what effect the Clarion workshop had on his growth as a writer, and much more.

Here’s how you can listen in—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

13 March 2016 @ 12:29 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I find it hard to believe I haven’t shared this Al Jaffee drawing before—but perhaps I was saving it for a milestone moment like this, when I could wish the man a happy 95th birthday!


Jaffee sketched out this self-portrait for me at a National Cartoonist Society Ruben Awards banquet held at the Waldorf Astoria in 1973, to which I was invited by Bill Kresse, a cartoonist I’d met during a class trip to the Daily News. I was an annoying teen fanboy in those days (now I’m only annoying), yet he was willing to put up with me when I interrupted his chowing down on rubber chicken and presented him with my pad and marker.

Forty-three years later, I am still grateful for his patience. (And for the patience of Curt Swan, Gary Trudeau, Paul Fung, Jr., and others that night as well!)

So thank you for that, Al Jaffee—and for ensuring I own no copies of MAD in mint condition due to my inability to resist folding and creasing those famous inside back cover fold-ins of yours.

Happy birthday!

12 March 2016 @ 04:19 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

The Paris Review—to which I’ve had a lifetime subscription since the late ’70s—has provided me with yet another comics-related mystery. Over the years, they’ve published many collages which have used comics imagery, such as this one, by poet John Ashbery, which incorporated one of the most famous faces of all and so was immediately identifiable by me, and this, by an artist known as Jess, for which I needed help tracking down the original source.

In the current Spring 2016 issue, to accompany an interview with Luc Sante, the magazine published a flyer the writer had created in 1980 promoting a gig by the band the Del-Byzanteens. As you can see below, the promo repurposed panels from comics which seem to me to have the feel of comic strips rather than comics books, though I might be wrong about that, and I could instead be perceiving the style difference between UK and U.S. comics.

Of course, I could easily be wrong about it all.

Take a look and tell me what you think.



I have no idea who the original artist might be here. Do you?

UPDATE: Well, that was fast!

Sean Howe, author of the wonderful Marvel Comics: The Untold Story as well as the upcoming Agents of Chaos (about the founder of High Times) reached out directly to Sante—because Sean knows everyone—and was told:

They’re from a stack of promotional offprints I found when I was working at the Strand, aimed at newspapers and syndicates, for a strip called “Drift Marlo,” by Tom Cooke. Never having seen the strip anywhere else, I’d always assumed it had gone nowhere, but I was wrong …

Sante also provided a link to an entry on Ger Apeldoorn’s blog which included some of the strips from which Sante created his flyer. Including this one, the center panel of which provided the central panel above.


Mystery solved! Thanks, guys!


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

My dreams have been sparse the past few months—not the having of them, but the remembering of them—which meant that January and February were light compared to what I usually can save from my subconscious. But I still like gathering together what I’d previously shared on Twitter to see whether any theme arises.

So far this year, I’ve dreamt of Josh Holloway, David Letterman, David Hyde Pierce, Ian McKellen and more …

February 2016

I dreamt that while I was on a panel at @Readercon, in came my wife with a Colt .45, which she said she’d just used to kill a mouse. Feb 29

I dreamt I visited @dreamoforgonon, and when we laughed until we cried, he pulled out a box of tiny kittens with which we dabbed our tears. Feb 29

I dreamt I leapt up with two friends (don’t remember who) and spontaneously danced that famous Bande à part scene. https://youtu.be/u1MKUJN7vUk Feb 28

I dreamt I was in the Old West, chatting with a bad guy, and realized I forgotten to wear my pistol. And wondered how I’d get out of this. vFeb 26

I dreamt I drove to @StokerCon2016, and once I got there, I found I’d forgotten my luggage, and had only the clothes on my back. Oh, well! Feb 21

I dreamt I looked outside to see ducks nesting with their baby ducks. In a lake. Which we don’t have IRL. A fact which didn’t disturb me. Feb 8

I dreamt I was teaching a fiction writing course, leading an exercise which involved imagining the lives of characters in classic paintings. Feb 7

I dreamt that I visited DC Comics and found Bill Gaines (long dead IRL) holding court. I tried to take a pic, but my tech failed, of course. Feb 4

I dreamt I was at David Hartwell’s house editing a manuscript while he worked outside in his garden. But he eventually came in and chatted. Feb 2

I have no idea what dream was supposed to be brought to mind by this middle-of-the-night note: NAT KING COLE SHOWS UP. All memories — gone! Feb 1 Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I got together with writer, editor, and Rosarium Publishing mastermind Bill Campbell yesterday at The Jerk Pit in College Park, Maryland for lunch—and to record the third episode of Eating the Fantastic.


Bill opened up about many things, including the genius of Samuel R. Delany, how Rosarium’s first book Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond gave birth to a new publishing company, the challenges of crowdfunding creative projects, why he was once blacklisted at a convention, and many other topics which I hope you’ll find as fascinating as I did.

There are three ways you can join us at the table—Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Over on Facebook in a Marvel Comics alumni group, Ted Jalbert has posted a July 1976 Get Well card to Stan Lee which I’d completely forgotten I’d ever signed, dug out of the archives The Man had donated to the University of Wyoming.

It shows Stan on crutches wearing a cast, so I’m guessing he’d broken a leg—though perhaps that was only metaphorical—and was drawn by Paty Cockrum. Included are caricatures of Stan, John Verpoorten, Archie Goodwin, and many other Marvel staffers, plus the signatures of John Romita (both Sr. and Jr.), Walt Simonson, my wife Irene Vartanoff, Steve Edelson …

Steve Edelson? Wait—who’s Steve Edelson?

I’m Steve Edelson!


The reason I signed the card that way was because even though I was the one who organized the panels for the 1975 Mighty Marvel Con and edited the program book (so you’d think Stan would get my name right), when it came time there for him to introduce all us Marvel staffers from the stage, he pointed me out and called me … you guessed it … Steve Edelson.

So, of course, I’d tease him about that whenever I’d get the chance. When this card was put in front of me the following year, I apparently couldn’t resist.

Can you blame me?


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

So I was searching for comic books which contained references to ukuleles—as one does—and came across Blue Ribbon Comics #2, which has a cover date of December 1939. A one-pager titled “Strange But True” featured the following fact.


I’d have reproduced the whole of the page, but unfortunately, one of the accompanying strange facts was head-slappingly racist, so I don’t feel I should spread it around. (Though those who’d like to see how clueless folks were back in 1939 can go to the scan of that issue and click through to page 34.)

But what I found more fascinating about the issue was an editorial which advised that since “Dad may seem a bit worried at times recently” because of things like “war and poor markets and slow business,” the kids who were the presumed readers should leave it around where Dad could find the comic so he’d then read it and cheer up.


That’s right, in a message which likely would have gone to press in September or October of 1939—almost immediately after World War II began on September 1 of that year—kids were being told comics could help Dad get over it.

Somehow, I doubt the adventures of Rang-a-Tang the Wonder Dog and Buck Stacey, Range Detective were going to be enough to take Dad’s mind off what at the time surely seemed like the beginning of the end of world …


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

While digging out that 44-year-old Analog rejection letter I shared with you, I also ran across one of my own letters, sent just a few years later, which speaks to the ambitions of me at 19.

Because (as the letter reveals) I was trying to become George R. R. Martin’s publisher.

Back in 1975, when I was still living with my parents, flush with earnings from my new job at Marvel Comics, and feeling myself then to be more a part of comics than science fiction, I decided I’d start a publishing company which would do for comics what Advent Press was then doing for SF.

At the time, George had only published around a dozen short stories, had yet to come out with a novel, and I knew him best for his prose appearances in the pages of Star-Studded Comics, a fanzine out of Texas.


One such superhero adventure was “Powerman vs. the Blue Barrier,” which had appeared 10 years earlier.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Earlier today, the Horror Writers Association announced the final ballot for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards, and I’m thrilled to see that my story “Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen” is one of the final five in the category of Superior Achievement in Long Fiction.


Here are the five stories which survived the voting process and are now Stoker nominees.

Gary A. Braunbeck – Paper Cuts (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)

Lisa Mannetti – The Box Jumper (Smart Rhino Publications)

Norman Partridge – Special Collections (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)

Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)

Scott Edelman – Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen (Dark Discoveries #30)

This marks the sixth time a story of mine has been voted onto a final Stoker Awards ballot. I previously appeared there with— Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Early Friday morning, I headed into D.C. to record the second episode of my new podcast Eating the Fantastic, which seemed a perfect opportunity to check out Pineapple and Pearls, a cafe which opened its doors exactly one week earlier. It’s the latest restaurant from Rose’s Luxury chef Aaron Silverman, and will soon include a high-end, full-service restaurant of the same name—one which, unlike Rose’s, will allow reservations. Yay!

Because getting into D.C. for me involves taking one of a limited number of possible MARC trains out of Martinsburg at a completely mind-numbing hour, I arrived at Pineapple and Pearls exactly one minute before its 8:00 a.m. opening. But once that minute passed, and I could hear the sounds of reveille from the Marine barracks across the street, the door opened, and I learned what was for breakfast that morning.


I’d already decided I was going to order the entire menu, for a number of reasons.

One—I’ve told you before how amazing Rose’s Luxury is, right? How could I not order it all?

Second—restaurants often dispense with some of their initial menu offerings once they gauge which are selling and which are not, and I wanted to check them all out before any were removed.

But don’t worry—though I did order the whole menu, I didn’t actually eat the whole menu! That, after all, is what friends and relatives are for. (In this instance, my son, whom I’d be meeting later that day.)Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Yesterday, Bud Sparhawk and I met for lunch at Cafe Mozart in Washington D.C., where we recorded the second episode of Eating the Fantastic. (You can find information about the first episode, which featured Sarah Pinsker, here.) That’s Bud below, digging into the remains of his Linzer tartlette.


I chatted with Bud—a three-time Nebula finalist and Analog magazine regular—about how Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions anthology inspired him to become a writer, what it was like to write for three different Analog editors over four decades, the plotters vs. pantsers debate, and more.

There are three ways you can join us at the table:

1) You can subscribe at the iTunes store. (Note that though this specific episode isn’t yet visible there, it should be within the hour, and if you subscribe you’ll get it on your iPhone immediately whether it’s visible or not, as you can see I already have.)


2) You can use the RSS feed of http://eatingthefantastic.libsyn.com/rss to download the episode to the device of your choice.

3) Or if you’d prefer, you can simply click below to listen to it here.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I received the latest PS Publishing Weekly Newsletter this morning, and in it, the full Table of Contents for Postscripts #36/37—which has been given the subtitle “The Dragons of the Night”—has been revealed.

Which means I now feel free to share the title of my story therein—one of my longest titles ever—as well as the names of the other writers and the titles of the other stories which will be surrounding mine.

And here they are!

Darkness, and Darkness by Robert Freeman Wexler
S.K. by James Cooper
A Reverie of Time by Allen Ashley
The Wedding Photographer by Robert Guffey
Machinists by Andrew Jury
The Second Runner by John Grant
Surfacing by Lisa L. Hannett
In Passing by Robert Reed
The Dragons of the Night by Darrell Schweitzer
Last Post by Robert Edric
Texas by James Cooper
Untanglement: The Leaving of the Quantum Cats by John Gribbin
Karen Coxswain, or Death as She is Truly Lived by Paul Di Filippo
Rewrites by Keith Brooke
Everything Finishes by John Grant
The Day My Heart Stood Still by Andrew Hook
Madam, I’m Adam by Gary Fry
In the Macabre Theatre of Nightshade Place by Cate Gardner
Happy Sands by Stephen Bacon
The Man Without the Blue Balloon and the Woman Who Had Smiles Only for Him by Scott Edelman
Blesséd by Bruce Golden
The Hutchison Boy by Darrell Schweitzer
Abundances Above by Brian Aldiss
The Beachcomber by Lavie Tidhar

What wonderful company I’m keeping!

Since it’s not self-evident from my title, “The Man Without the Blue Balloon and the Woman Who Had Smiles Only for Him” is a post-apocalyptic tale set an unspecified number of years in the future. Should you read it, I hope you enjoy it.

While I don’t yet see a link so you can order a copy of Postscripts #36/37, you can reach the full PS Publishing site here, where I’m sure purchasing information will be listed once it’s available.

If what I’ve been told by various editors and publishers comes to pass, I may have more stories published in 2016 than any single previous year. Fingers crossed!


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

UPDATE: This workaround is no longer required, as Eating the Fantastic has been accepted and added to the iTunes store. You can check it out and subscribe here!

My food-centric science fiction podcast Eating the Fantastic launched yesterday, and though I provided an embed via which you could listen on your computer, I know many will instead want to download the episodes to their iPhones. Since it’ll likely take a few weeks before the show will be available there, I’m glad I was able to figure out a workaround for those who’d like to listen while away from their keyboards.

Actually …

I didn’t figure out anything.

Gil Roth of the Virtual Memories podcast explained it to me, and now I’m explaining it to you. Though I suspect many of you are far more advanced than I am, and could do without any of this, needing only the url of my RSS feed. But for anyone else out there who’s as clueless as I am …

First, find the Podcast app icon. You know, the one that looks like this—


Once you’ve clicked it and are in, click the plus sign in the upper left corner of your screen.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Are you ready to have lunch with me and writer/musician Sarah Pinsker? Because the first episode of Eating the Fantastic is now live!


If you want more details about what the Eating the Fantastic podcast is all about, check out my earlier post. But if you’re a TL;DR type of podcast listener, then simply click play below and join Sarah and me for lunch at Baltimore’s Family Meal.

I hope to eventually get Eating the Fantastic into the iTunes store so you’ll be able to listen on the go, but until then, I think you should still find the episodes enjoyable enough to listen to here.

UPDATE: Eating the Fantastic has been accepted and added to the iTunes store. You can now check it out and subscribe here!

And if you’d like see what the two of us were putting in our mouths on Sunday rather than just being teased by our descriptions (and quite audible groans), check out the photos below.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )